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Kayo Hit 200K+ Paid Customers, Foxtel Wobbles

Foxtel-backed sports streaming platform, Kayo, has reportedly doubled its paying customer base to over 200,000 – contrasting fluctuating churn for its parent’s traditional broadcast division.

The news comes as Foxtel continues to wrestle pricey sports broadcast rights, coupled with multi-million dollar investments in its first 4K LIVE TV Channel (Channel 444).

Since launching in November to May 8, Kayo has hit 209,000 paying customers, within a total of 239,000 customers – up from around 100,000 in February.

Kayo subscribers are reportedly very engaged, and on average consume over seven hours a week.

Foxtel revenue and EBITDA has continued to remain under pressure, notching US$539 million and US$98 million respectively. Results take into account the merger of Foxtel and Fox Sports, which was finalised around a year prior.

Results were disclosed within News Corp quarterly earnings this morning – Foxtel is 65% owned by the entity, with the remainder held by Telstra.

News Corp’s subscription video service segment (i.e. Foxtel) notched a 13% drop in pro-form quarterly revenue to US$84 million. The company asserts US$53 million of the decline stems from negative currency movements.

For the quarter ending March 31, EBITDA slumped 23% to US$29 million, with around US$25 million attributed to a hike in cricket and other sports related production.

HBO smash hit Game of Thrones has notched record audiences in Australia, with Foxtel Now sales hitting over 567,000 as of May 8. Just over 500,000 of these are paying customers.

For the three months to March, total Foxtel customers (inc. Foxtel Now and Kayo) hit 2.896 million, however, soared to  3.1 million towards the end of April alongside Game of Thrones S8.

The numbers are up from 2.9 million in December quarter, and 2.8 million the same time last year.

Foxtel broadcast subscriber churn has continued to wobble, jumping 17.7% in the March quarter versus 15.6% in the December quarter.

News Corp claim March churn notched 16.2%, slipping to 15.1% in April.

In contrast to internal remarks, some commentators claim the success of Kayo is luring Foxtel sports customers away, citing its cheaper $25 – $35 monthly charge.

Driven by the inclusion of Foxtel and soaring book publishing earnings, News Corp booked a 36% lift in EBITDA to US$247 million.

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